ES-M's carpentry class seeks applicants for new home

Applications are now being accepted for the 2008-09 East Syracuse-Minoa High School carpentry project: to build a house.

Carpentry students have been building new homes for residents of the school district for more than 20 years, saving homeowners thousands of dollars on labor costs. They finished this year's home on Heman Street last week, and carpentry teacher Phil Kugler is in search of their next job, to begin in August.

"I'm hoping to secure a project that the students can work on," said Kugler, who owns his own construction company called Kugler and Sons Carpentry. "By late August, I will have a foundation installed. Then I'll bring the kids right out in early September," he said, looking ahead.

Kugler was a tech teacher for 17 years at Pine Grove Middle School.

He was approached by the district last year when the class' prior teacher Arthur Erbe left for another job opportunity, and was asked to teach the ES-M course alongside co-worker Lisl Schwendy. He began in October.

So what exactly do the kids do?

Everything but the excavation/foundation, electric and plumbing, which are all subcontracted out, Kugler said.

The homeowner supplies all the materials and details for their home's construction, but saves money on labor costs by having ES-M students do the work.

"It's a great experience," said senior and second-year carpentry student Jerry Cullen.

The skills he's learned in this class will stay with him for years to come, he said, which will be a great benefit financially.

"You'll save a lot of money if you learn this trade," Cullen said.

Who can apply?

Anyone who is a taxpayer living in the school district, financially eligible and has a manageable structure suiting the needs of the curriculum.

"We try to look for a home that will meet the students' needs," Schwendy said. "Whatever we can teach them, we try to. If the homeowner wants hardwood floors, we'd love to install that. If the homeowner wants a specific kind of cabinet, we'd love to install that. We're looking for something that will most fulfill our program."

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